Restriction on publishing judgments

Any report of proceedings must comply with SS 11B to 11D of the Family Courts Act 1980.

These sections state that any person may publish a report of proceedings in the Family Court without leave of the Court but the report must not contain identifying information if a person under 18 years or a vulnerable person is involved in the case.

Persons under 18 years

Where a person under 18 years is the subject of, a party to, an applicant in, or referred to in this proceeding, no one may publish any information relating to those proceedings that includes any name or particulars likely to lead to the identification of that person, unless they have the permission of the Court. 

Vulnerable persons

These restrictions on what may be published also apply to any person who the Court has considered likely to be particularly susceptible to any adverse consequences associated with the publication of a report of the proceedings that contains information that will lead to the identification of that person.

The following people are considered 'vulnerable' under section 11D of the Family Courts Act 1980 (external link) :

Penalties

Breaching these reporting restrictions is an offence punishable:

  • in the case of individuals, by imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or a fine not exceeding $2,000; or
  • in the case of a company or other corporate body, a fine not exceeding $10,000.

These offences do not limit the power of the Court to punish any contempt of Court.

Professional and technical publications

Different rules apply to reports in professional or technical publications and the publication of statistical information.

Further, the provisions of sections 11B to 11D of the Family Courts Act 1980 are subject to any other enactment relating to the publication or regulation of the publication of reports or particulars of a Family Court proceeding.

For the full text of the relevant legislation go to www.legislation.govt.nz (external link) .

Need more information or advice?

If you are unsure about what may be published you should seek legal advice before publication.

For more information or advice, contact a family lawyer (external link)  or a community law centre (external link) .